Monthly Archives: December 2013

Sad News…

Hey guys… In the course of the few minutes it took to finish posting part one, get an apple, and start to post this, I found out that the mother of one of my friends passed away yesterday. She was young, only about 50 (48), and she died of some form of lymphoma (Non Hodgkin’s or whatever).

How quickly life can change… Just a few minutes ago, I was really happy, and now…

I won’t say her name for privacy reasons, but please keep her in your prayers.

I’m a bit… compromised (even now, I channel Data…), so if no one minds, I’m going to save parts two and three for tomorrow.

The funny thing is that I saw her before she got sick, and I haven’t seen her (or her daughter) in a while. And now I can only see her dead.

She was a kind, sweet, religious woman. I have read stories where people who have experienced death scream at God and demand why?????

From the comfort of my relatively death-free life, I thought the answer was obvious: “Because.”

But now…. I don’t know. I just feel so sad, and I wish I had gotten to know her better.

So do yourself a favor, readers. Tell your friends and family you love them. Right now.

Book Review: The Writer’s Book of Wisdom (Part 1)

That’s right, part 1. This whole puppy was about 40 pages on a Word document. I figured I’d separate them into easieer to read sections. I’ll post the review of about 15 “Rules”, two a day. That way you don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness that is my review.

I was originally intending on reviewing Tamora Pierce’s “Song of the Lioness” series (which, by the way, is a really good series, and if you haven’t read it, do that now.), but I just started reading this book first, so here we go.

P.s. There are grammar and spelling mistakes here and there. Since this is just a simple review (and since it’s 40 frigging pages), I didn’t bother editing it. Sorry.

 

Overview: “The Writer’s Book of Wisdom” is a set of 101 “rules” for writing. Are there rules for writing good books? …kinda, yeah. You can’t just write a bunch of random words down and expect audiences to rave about how you put the words “peanut butter” and “apron” right next to each other. But are all of these “rules” ones I agree with? …well, no. While I do agree with some, the authors of this book took on a slightly… pompous voice, that people who aren’t super serious shouldn’t write, and I just don’t agree with that.

But without further ado, the review!

Rule 1: Learn the rules before you break them.

We need rules in life. They keep people in line and on the same page. Is murder wrong? According to the law, it is, so we see it as wrong. In writing, it is the same way. The way you punctuate a sentence or add dialogue should be in line with other authors.

So? Writing, like this will not be widely: accepted.

That’s an extreme example, sure. Now, maybe it’s just that I’m not fully grown up, but I don’t see any “rules” in writing, except make your plot make sense (Though, there is Kafka…), your characters interesting (Excepting Hemmingway, of course…), and use proper grammar/spelling/ect.

 

Rule 2: Writing is more craft that art.

 The main point of this rule is to write every day. Exercise your writing brain, so to speak.

I could not agree more. I personally (try to) write short drabbles every day for my fanfic “A Story for a Word” (https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9525445/1/A-Story-for-a-Word), just so I don’t get out of the habit of writing. You should try something similar!

 

Rule 3: Believe in yourself, even if no one else does.

      Words to live by. Hard words, of course, but words nevertheless. Writing is hard, tedious, and after hours and days and weeks and months and maybe even years of hard work, there will still be plenty of people who think that our works of art are stupid and shouldn’t see the light of day.

      You’ve got to have guts to stand up to them, snap your fingers in a z formation and stick your tongue out like a petulant child. Or the insanity. Whichever works…

 

Rule 4: True inspiration must be earned by writing.

Again, truer words were never spoken. To quote Chris Baty’s book, No Plot? No Problem! “I don’t wait for my muse to wander by, I go out and drag her home by the hair.”

That is pretty much what you gotta do.  Don’t know what happens next? Skip until you get to a part you *do* know, and write that. While you’re busy working on that, the unconscious part of your brain will start working on a problem, and once it gets done, it’ll usually alert you in one of those “Eureka!” moments. (Just don’t go running through the streets of Rome naked…)

If it doesn’t come, ask some like-minded friends. “How should this character get from here to here?” Listen to their suggestions. Even if you hate it, and least you’ll figure out how *not* to get them from one place to another.

 

Rule 5: Write to be great, not to be rich.

 I’m kinda on the fence with this one. I don’t want to be “great” (’cause I kinda want to have my own personal life), but I want to be known. I kinda want to be rich, and hope writing will take me close, but I kinda half-know that’s pretty unlikely.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t want greatness or riches: My grandpa wrote a really technical and scientific book on some wool-threading/loom weaving subject. Only about 100 copies were published, and they sell for, like $400 on ebay because they’re so rare, but my grandpa published a book. And he got money. Not a lot, but if you just want a book published, that’s perfectly okay.

 

Rule 6: Get used to despair.

Oh, despair, the blackest pit of woe. There always seem to be people who are more than willing to hate you for nothing at all, and tear apart your book, because they think it will be fun, and who cares about one author?

This book says that your friends will secretly hate you for being an author. They’ll be overly jealous, they’ll think you’re stupid.

…Excuse me? I happen to think that my friends (like any true friend) will be happy for my success. Will they be jealous at the attention I get? Of course! That’s human nature. But their jealousy will be overshadowed at their happiness that I finally published something!

 Caveat Emptor: This does not give you the right to act like a total prick. If you act noticably more pompous or regal, they *will* start to peel away. Of course, you get a good week or two to brag about the fact that you PUBLISHED AN EFFING *NOVEL* before you should tone your excitement down and start acting normal.

…or as normal as you usually do.

 

Rule 7: Fail.

Failure is the key to success. It just it. Once you fail at something, you never do it again. (It’s called aversive learning. It’s actually pretty interesting!) So keep failing, and soon, you’ll find very few things to fail at.

 

Rule 8: Keep your writing exercises in perspective.

This basically says follow your heart, though sometimes structure is good. I personally find structure a great starting point. Then I just take off and fly in a completely different direction. Some people like their whole story to be structured by someone. Is that bad? In short, no. But I’m a writer, so I use metaphors.

Roller coasters (for most people) are exciting. They take you through ups and downs and all around. But they’re the same track, and it’s the same no matter how many times you ride it. So what’s exciting about a roller coaster? It’s speed. Lazy rivers are fun because you can just lay in the sun while you’re dragged along by a current. Top Thrill Dragster is so fun because it goes so fast in so short a time. So as long as you keep the style and pacing your own, it will be exciting. (Okay, not a perfect metaphor, but whatever…)

 

Rule 9: Prepare to face your demons.

I have very low self-esteem. I am a half-perfectionist, in and of that *everything* I do has to be perfect. So when I write something, it has to be perfect. When it isn’t, I feel depressed and sad. But I have to work through that.

Maybe your family or friends aren’t too keen on you writing a novel, and every time they catch you scribbling away, they either get mad at you or they laugh at you. You have to deal with that.

Maybe you’re from China or the Phillippeans, or Uganda, and you only speak broken English, but you want to write a book in English. Every time you write, you second-guess your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You have to deal with that.

No matter what it is, we all have demons, and we all must deal with them.  ‘Cause you can’t run away from them forever, and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something. (If you know what that’s from, you’re awesome)

 

Rule 10: Stay out of sight.

 I could not agree less with this rule. I suppose it is a matter of opinion, but especially if you’re a new writer, you’ve got to let people know you exist. That’s the whole reason I started this blog: to let people know I exist.

While you are a conduit for your story, as the book says, you also need to support that story and make sure it gets the press it deserves. Don’t let it rot on the shelves. Please.

 So start a blog, twitter, facebook, email, or whatever and message all of your friends. Let them know you are writing a story, and talk about it a lot. Give people the inside scoop on your story. People *love* the inside scoop. (A book I suggest for this it “The Essential Guide to Getting Published”)

 

Rule 11: Work in an inspiring environment.

I agree…ish. I wrote most of my novel in loud coffee shops and less noisy libraries, surround by other people. I listened to music while writing, but I wasn’t in my writing corner. Only the last few days of novelling was done there.

So novel away where you want to. But always have a little hidey hole to slip away to, whether it’s the bathroom or a walk in linen closet, make sure you are comfortable and inspired there.

 

Rule 12: Think of writing sessions as entertainment.

Definitely. If you consider writing a thing you “have” to do (excluding the odd few says when you’re just not feeling it. Goodness knows that has happened to me…), you won’t enjoy it, and that will come through to your audience. And as the book says, while you have to entertain your readers, you also have to entertain yourself.

 

Rule 13: Electronic voices destroy inspiration.

I politely and emphatically disagree. One of the novels I’m working on was inspired by the episode of Merlin (great BBC show, btw), The Poisoned Chalice. Now it has a life of its own, and only generalizations can be drawn from it to its source material.

Especially for teenagers and young adults, television is a portal to a different world, where product placement is commonplace, and people in the background can walk across a camera’s viewing angle more than once!

Personally, I find television more inspiring than books (le gasp!), since I enjoy writing about emotion, which is hard to imagine in a book, but shown through television really well. The way people stand, the way they act, their facial expressions, and their motives, these are easier to understand in television.

Now, I’m not saying that books are bad. Another book I wrote was inspired by Tamora Pierce’s book, “Alanna: The First Adventure”, and I have incorporated her style and her knowledge into my books (It’s surprisingly hard to draw a sword from a sheath quickly).

Just know where you get inspiration from, and run with it.

Though a good point this book makes is that writing while listening to radio or something similar (Like Welcome to Night Vale) will tear your concentration away. And that’s a valid point.

Then they broaden the category to music, and I (again) politely and emphatically disagree.

 

Rule 14: Return to the basics.

Writing by hand. Now most of my younger audience has fled in terror. But writing by hand is beneficial. You are writing slower, and have more time to think about what you’re writing. You’ll be less likely to write something stupid.

Plus it just feels cool to be writing something in school of work and have someone lean over and ask “What’cha writing?” and watch the impressed look on their face when you say, “A Novel.” like it’s no biggie. I personally write fanfiction in a special notebook just for that purpose. Plus, I just like doing it!

 

Rule 15: Generate text.

In other words, write. The book has this really funny anecdote: Sinclair Lewis, the first literature Nobel laureate was invited to speak at Harvard. Like any good writer worth his salt (or words), he turned up drunk, marched on the stage, and asked who wanted to be a writer. When everyone raised their hand, he barked, “Then why the hell aren’t you home writing?” And then he walked (stumbled drunkenly) away.

Moral of the story: you will write crap at every stage of your life. Don’t think that if you start at age 35, you’ll be better at writing than you were at age 15 and you didn’t practice writing.

Writing is just like learning an instrument. You don’t just become a famous musician by *wishing* it. You gotta practice, and you *will* get better.

 

Rule 16: Take a break from your labors.

DO NOT OVERWORK YOURSELF. It is NOT cool. You will get sick, and you will be unable to write for a week or two, as opposed to those five or six hours you wrote when you should have been eating and/or sleeping and/or showering. If you put too much pressure on yourself, you won’t grow to be very old.

Practice proper hygiene. Don’t live off of Twinkies and Dove chocolates, and please, for the love of crap, WASH YOUR DAMN CLOTHES. And your damn body. And use deodorant. Please.

 

Rule 17: Stop reading this book.

 Write.

That is literally written in the book. And I agree. Why are you reading this? Write. NOW!

The Joys of Editing

NOTE: This was written December 21st, and for some reason I only now realized that it didn’t post. So, sorry. I hope you enjoy it nevertheless!

Ah, editing. Right now, I am on a school bus heading from Chicago to my school, so I have a whole hour to edit. I got through a good portion of my story and have a plan of when I’m going to edit the rest of it. I should be done before the end of Christmas Break, and have it typed up by the time school starts. Then I’ll let my friend read it over, get her opinion, and make some adjustments.

But today was TubaChristmas in Chicago, and two tubas, two baritones (including me!) and our band director drove down from our school to play. It was soooo much fun, and I look forward to doing it again. We had to park so far away that we just marched through the streets and played Christmas carols. It was a bunch of fun. If you were along Monroe street in Chicago at about 2:15 and you saw a group of teenagers, one of which had a blue tuba, that was us!

This is just a short update, just to let everyone know that I exist and I plan on being pretty punctual on this thing (Future edit: Punctual. Ha.). I’ll try to update you on my progress once a week. During school breaks, it’ll probably be more like once a day (Future edit: Once a day. Ha.), but when school is in session, it’s (“it” being school) my number one priority.

So with that, I bid all you adieu!

Novel Writing Music

Following shortly after my first post, I suddenly decided, I’m going to make a list of my favorite novelling music. Because why not?

1) Legend of Korra Soundtrack

  • This soundtrack is just…… *goosebumps*. Say what you will about the series (I honestly didn’t find it as grating as my friends, though Korra’s lack of learning from her mistakes did get on my nerves. There have been worse T.V. shows out there.

2) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Manheim Steamrollers)

  • I just play this over and over and over and over and over again. The reason probably being that my school band played this for our Christmas concert, and the whole beginning is a baritone (AKA: Me) solo. And it’s just the most beautiful yet rocky solo, and I just love it.

3) Hatsune Miku/ Rin and Len Kagamine

  • This is Japanese vocaloid, so skip if you don’t like listening to songs in other languages. Personally, I find it helps me concentrate so I don’t concentrate on the words of the song. But I unfortunately do know the words to some songs (*coughcough* the world is mine *coughcough*)

4) Demons A Capella

  • *shiver* Now, I’m not one for “normal” music like this. I listen to fandubs of Japanese songs for pete’s sake! But I heard this song from somewhere, and this is just perfect. He may not be perfectly on pitch (so some people say. I honestly can’t tell….), but it’s just really good. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFP36c1vOdw

5) Anything Anthony Warlow

  • If you haven’t heard Anthony Warlow sing, now is the time to do it. He does a pretty good Phantom from Phantom of the Opera,and he also does Enojas, or whatever that one Revolutionary guy from Les Miserable is called, and has a beast solo that he NAILS. But I’m thinking about Anthony Warlow as Jekyll and Hyde. Go on youtube and look up “Anthony Warlow Alive”. You’re welcome.

6) JubyPhonic

  • Juby is a youtuber who makes fantastic fandubs of songs I’ve never heard of, but her songs are really emotional, and her voice is 10 times better than mine in my dreams of me singing the National Anthem at the Packer’s game. (I lied, I’ve never even dreamed of singing since I’m so hopeless….)But seriously. Check her out. Do it. Now. https://www.youtube.com/user/JubyPhonic
  • My favorites of her songs (From the top of my head and in no particular order): Outer Science, Superhero, Witch Hunt, Game of Life (My first Juby song!), Death Should Not Have Taken Thee, Hide and Seek, Remote Control, Lost Ones Weeping, Lies, and Clean Freak. But I love a bunch more.

That’s pretty much it. I have some Vic Mignogna songs, some other vocaloid/KLove songs, but most of my novelling song population is from the above.

If you have any suggestions for good novelling music, let me know and I’ll check it out. Just one thing, please keep it PG 13. Thanks!

Post Number 1! and The Trials and Tribulations of Editing

Hello all (one of you)!

My name is Tess, and I am an aspiring author working on getting her novel published. This blog will be a memorandum of my efforts, most of which will likely be in vain. OTL

But I will persevere! I will upload snippets of my story, share my novelling problems with you, some body who probably doesn’t get a whoot about it. But I shall speak nevertheless, because I talk waaaaaaay too much. This way I can talk a whole lot, and you don’t have to listen/read unless you want to!

My main problem: Editing.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE editing. Completely seriously. I enjoy editing. But I just can’t get myself motivated to edit a 92 page Microsoft Word document. Luckily, my friend from school has been bugging me for weeks (even before the book was started…) to let her read it, and I am currently on Christmas Break (NO MORE FINALS!!!!!!!), so it is very likely  that I will at least start editing.

…You know what? I feel like uploading the first page of my story, since I need the feedback.

Brief synopsis: Rhiannon and her brother are spirited away to a strange world called Ture by a strange half human hybrid who claims that Rhiannon is Ture’s “True Heir” and needs to save Ture from civil war. Navigating through mountains and forests, though loyalty and betrayal, not everyone can make it out alive.

What do you think of the synopsis? I worked pretty hard on that! ^.^

Prologue

“No.” The girl tugged on her low hanging pigtail with a scowl. “Yaviel…” A thin man sighed and adjusted the too big crown that sat atop his scrawny head.

“You should know I’m no good with people. I’ll break her or something. Why not tell Malen or Basu? They’re better suited for this sort of… thing… sir.”

“You mean social interaction? You’re right. But that’s the point. Nothing you can say or do can possibly be worse than the pressure of saving an entire country from civil war. Believe me. Ruling one is rough enough.” The king stroked some of his auburn hair, fingering silvery white strands that showed his experience at such a relatively young age. “Besides.” He said. “It’ll be good practice.” He grinned. Yaviel glared at him, and he threw his hands up with a groan. “Fine, fine! To the point…”

Mahli grabbed a small, palm-sized mirror off one of the arms of his ornately fashioned throne and handed it to Yaviel. “Take this for Contact and teleportation. It is connected to my mirror here.” He held up a larger mirror that rested on the other throne arm. Yaviel stared from the mirror’s surface to Mahli and blinked a few times.

“May I go now?” She asked pointedly. Mahli gave a one-sided smile. “You might want to make sure the Contact works first.” He replied, raising a single eyebrow. Yaviel stuck her tongue out but obliged, calling Mahli’s name. There was a quick pause before the mirror’s surface shifted, and it showed the curved, wood-supported roof. Mahli leaned over and dangled his face in front of the mirror on his throne, and his face appeared on Yaviel’s mirror. Yaviel nodded shortly. “It works.” She said. Mahil nodded and tapped the side of the mirror. Yaviel’s mirror returned to normal.

He smiled tiredly. “Then there’s one more thing you probably need.” Mahli motioned to a guard standing a distance away, who heaved a knapsack at Yaviel’s chest. She caught it easily and flung it over a shoulder. She looked at him expectantly, and he nodded. Then she disappeared in a flash of light.

Mahli collapsed on his throne with a sigh of relief, running a hand through his grey-streaked hair. Just as he was about to close his eyes for a little nap, the doors to the throne room burst open, and Mahli jackknifed to his feet.

Mahli’s chief strategist burst through the door, and motioned for the guards to leave. They did. “Your Highness,” the strategist bowed on one knee. “I have found a way to turn the tide of the war.”

So, that’s the first chapter/page. It’s a pretty short prologue, but prologues should be short. Or do you think that’s more of a chapter 1 sort of thing? I personally feel that it takes place before the actual story (in which Yaviel takes Rhiannon to Ture.), but if you feel this is part of the story, then the only way you’ll let me know is through a comment!

I’m also on Figment: http://figment.com/users/192026-DarkAngelBakura

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/DarkAngelBakura

and DeviantART (You’ll usually find me here…): http://otakuyasha.deviantart.com/

If you have any suggestions, contact me here, or any of those places.

Hasta!